Ask Kiefer: Your Questions Answered

You’re asking plenty of questions via Facebook and Twitter. We’re answering them. Here are responses to the best inquiries of the past week:

If I’m training fasted in the morning, what are your thoughts on acesulfame potassium (acesulfame K)? Okay, or no?

I’d say yes, it’s okay. The rise in insulin you’ll get shouldn’t be much, and there shouldn’t be a big effect. And you’d be having it post-training, so a little bit of an insulin spike there never hurts.

Is sucrose metabolized differently before and after training with Carb Back-Loading?

Possibly. Sucrose has both a glucose component and a fructose component. After training, at least if you’re lucky, your liver reserves are empty, and the fructose is only going to go into replenishing glycogen reserves in the liver. If this isn’t the case, it’s possible for body fat to be created, or for you to get a buildup of fatty acids.

What’s your take on creatine hydrochloride? It’s supposedly 100 percent soluble in water. Should I take it?

A lot of people have asked me this question about solubility, but solubility has nothing to do, in the research, with how much is absorbed. This is total bullshit that’s being promulgated by supplement manufacturers. There are many more soluble types of creatine, but none of them beat creatine monohydrate. It’s cheap, it works better than any other form, and buying anything else is a waste of your money.

What do you think of the research on gluten, namely the claims that it’s inflammatory, causes sluggishness and forms a plaque around the brain?

Research has shown the first two claims, but that plaque around the brain part is debatable. I haven’t seen much on that, and it seems like much ado about nothing. Gluten can be highly inflammatory because of the gliadin protein fraction, which can actually bind with proteins in your gut. The body will see this as a potential threat vector that needs to be killed, and will commence all kinds of inflammatory responses to protect you. These inflammation triggers can affect your whole body. So yes, gluten can definitely be inflammatory and affect performance, but that’s in about 50 percent of the population. It’s basically a coin toss, at least statistically, whether gluten affects you or not.

After getting out of the gym and drinking my post-workout shake, I feel really full and have a hard time eating a lot of food. Is there a way to handle this?

I’ve had a few people ask me about this. One thing you can do is move your carbs earlier into your workouts, and have less of them—so you’d make up a workout shake with some carbs in it, along with your protein, and you’d start drinking it halfway through your workout. When you’re done training, take a break. Wait an hour before you eat, because you’ve just had all your protein. You should be able to eat plenty after that.

Is it a bad thing that creatine can make your body want to burn more glucose?

safecreatineOn The Carb Nite Solution, the answer is no. It doesn’t really matter because you shouldn’t have a lot of glucose stored up. Ideally, this would help you transition faster to a pure ketogenic diet. Even if creatine is trying to make you burn more glucose, it’s not going to happen if you don’t have any glucose. With Carb Back-Loading, this could potentially cause some slight problems because you’re going to be using glucose during the day. Carb Back-Loading is so complex, however, that worrying about a small rise in glucose metabolism caused by creatine—which probably happens mostly in nervous cells—isn’t that big of a deal. There are more important issues to worry about.

I work both nights and days, with rotating shifts. Will this affect my results with Carb Back-Loading? Is there a way to adjust the diet to my schedule?

When you mix schedules, you’re obviously up at night when you’re working night shifts, and up during the day when you work days. Having these kinds of working hours will disrupt your circadian rhythms a bit. When everything shifts around like this, the best thing I can tell you to do, if you can’t keep your sleep schedule consistent, is to try to keep your training consistent—at the exact same time of day, every day, whether it ends up being first thing when you wake up, or right before you go to sleep. This, at least, will give your circadian rhythms something to anchor to. Everything with the diet will take some experimentation here, and there’s no easy answer.

Does glutamine cause an increased release of insulin?

I don’t think so. Glutamine isn’t like leucine, and leucine is pretty much the only one I know of that will increase the insulin release all by itself. If you’re taking glutamine with BCAAs, then yes, you’ll definitely get an increase in insulin release. Otherwise, it shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

If I have carbs after 6 AM fasted resistance training, will my body still burn fat for energy during the day?

Yes, as long as the carb count is minimal. Again, I recommend 40 grams, at most, post-training—and even that can be a little too much. 20 grams of something that will really spike insulin with leucine and hydrolysates is good. Generally, if you’ve got leucine and hydrolysates, you don’t need sugar to get that insulin spike, but you can take some.

What do you think about using mass gainer shakes for post-workout meals with Carb Back-Loading?

I just don’t like many of the pre-mixed shakes. Although they’re probably okay, I’d rather have more control over what’s in my post-workout shake. If you find a pre-mixed one you like, that’s fine, but nothing is going to be fine-tuned and perfectly matched for Carb Back-Loading or The Carb Nite Solution until I create my own supplement line. If you find one that works for you, use it, but I’m not going to recommend one.

Is age ever a limiting factor with your programs?

oldmanActually, stress and overall health have the biggest impact on whether people are successful or not. In the United States, at least, the older people are, the worse their health generally is. These programs can take longer to have an effect the older you are, but the longer you stay on them, the healthier you’ll get, and the faster you’ll experience good results.

Is it okay to eat whole food post-training, rather than drinking a post-workout shake?

Yes, you can eat whole food post-training, but your results will not be nearly as good. Whole food doesn’t stimulate the growth you want after your training sessions. Remember, a training session is almost completely catabolic while you’re training. Since this is the case, you need to do something to spark anabolism after your workouts. Whole food doesn’t do this very well.

Would a full-body workout be better for someone with insulin resistance?

No. Resistance training doesn’t increase insulin insensitivity. It increases GLUT4 translocation. A whole body workout, done properly, could help you out, because your whole body will then be in a heightened state of ability to absorb glucose, but it’s not going to help your insulin resistance. Losing body fat and controlling how you eat your carbs is what will affect that.

Okay, but wouldn’t full-body workouts increase my resting energy expenditure (REE) on rest days more than body part split sessions?

No. REE is not increased more than 30 minutes past a training session, and, in general, that effect disappears after a few weeks of training. Increasing your REE is going to come with more muscle mass, and you can get more muscle mass by splitting your workouts than you can by doing them full-body style.

I can’t tell whether I’m in ketosis, and sometimes it feels like I’m not (based on your descriptions), even though I’m not eating any carbs. What’s going on?

Not everybody actually goes into ketosis. Ketosis is an unnatural state where your body is making too many ketones, and you have to urinate and/or sweat them out. Not everyone goes through this, so there’s no definitive way to tell if you’re in ketogenesis or not other than a blood test. It’ll occur for some people, but not everyone, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

Tonight is my carb nite, but I’m recovering from the flu. Should I postpone it until I’m feeling better? Or will the carbs help with my recovery?

If you’re recovering from the flu, meaning you’re no longer sick and you’re on the mend, do your carb nite. If you still have the flu, I would skip it. I’m actually a big fan of starving any sickness of carbohydrates. Your body activates a lot of powerful immune system responses when you don’t eat carbs and you’re sick, so skip it if you’re still in the middle of it, and have it if you’re starting to feel better.